CREATIVE Crystal Jeans

NWR Issue 109

My Bukowski

There’s this guy. He must be around fifty, maybe fifty-five. I don’t know if he’s homeless or what. He hangs out in the lanes behind Whitchurch Road, by the allotments. He’s always wearing a pair of jeans and a leather jacket. He has light red hair, turning grey; a beard. Old scars and pits on his face. Skin rough and red from sun exposure. Dirty. He looks really dirty. I see him when I’m walking my dog. He’s always got a flagon of cider. Sometimes he’s sitting on the floor outside someone’s garage, other times he’s just ambling along. He nods at me, tips his head, a silent hi.

There’s something in his eyes that I like.

The first time I saw him I was walking the dog with my ten-year-old daughter. We passed through the allotments, her running ahead, the dog pulling like crazy. We crossed the bridge by the hospital and got onto the lane that runs along the dual carriageway, and there he was. Slumped against a tree trunk. My daughter stopped running and looked at him. He was out of it. His cider bottle – Country Choice – almost empty. His dirty hands cupped it loosely. He had pissed himself. Crotch like a dark continent.

My daughter looked at me, confused. ‘Is he asleep?’ she whispered.


‘He’s peed himself.’

‘He has.’

I would have left him normally but it was winter. Around two degrees that morning. I kicked his boot and he opened his eyes.

‘You’re going to freeze,’ I said.

He nodded and slowly stood up. Kept nodding. Looked at his bottle. Squinted at my dog, then bunched up his scarred cheeks with a smile. His teeth looked clean compared to the rest of him.

‘Take care,’ I said, walking off with my daughter. After a few seconds I looked back and he was gone.

It first happens a month or so later. I’m on all fours, palms and knees sinking into the soft duvet. My husband is doing me from behind. Hands on my pelvic bones, thick pubic fuzz tickling my arse. Pounding away. And I suddenly imagine that it’s him. Him. Ramming his grimy dick inside me. My husband speeds up and says, ‘Yeah. Yeah,’ through clenched teeth and I imagine that they’re his words. The hands cupping my pelvis are his hands with the black finger creases.

And well, I come like crazy.

Afterwards, me and the husband hug. He smiles, says, ‘You seemed to enjoy yourself.’ I snuggle into his neck and imagine the smell of alcohol, old sweat and cigarettes infused in a leather jacket.

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Crystal Jeans’ story, ‘Split Me in Two, Gareth Moon’, appeared in New Welsh Review 103, spring 2014; her poetry pamphlet, Just Like That, was published by Mulfran in 2011.


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